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Will Legalized Sports Betting Help NASCAR in 2019?

Written By: Kayla Sherrell

NASCAR track promoters across the United States are waiting in anticipation to see how the impact of the new regulations and legalization of sports betting will be reflected in the iconic American sport. Everyone involved in the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing – from promoters, drivers, and crew to the millions of loyal fans – are hopeful that legal sports wagering will provide a much-needed boost to NASCAR’s dwindling fan base. Legal gambling will give spectators a new reason to come to the tracks, and hopefully breath new life into one of America’s favorite past times.

Legalization of Sports Gambling

In the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court decision on May 14th which sanctioned states to choose whether or not to permit sports wagering of any kind in their territories, the sports betting scene was drastically altered. The Supreme Court definitively catalyzed this change in scenery by overturning a law that had previously barred the majority of states from permitting the legal wagering on sports.

Many states – including Delaware, Mississippi, and West Virginia – have leapt on the opportunity to endorse full-scale sports betting. This is giving rise to a nationwide competitive industry for sports wagering, and NASCAR wants to make sure it gets in on the action.

NASCAR Maneuvers Toward New Gambling Laws

NASCAR and other sports organizations are reacting to the change in law by putting their own touch-and-go regulations into place, anticipating that sports betting will soon become a very popular recreation. Steve Phelps, the recently-appointed President of NASCAR, announced that the series will be implementing new guidelines concerning sports betting in the rulebook in 2019. He indicated that some rules will be put in place for sponsorship, and may include policies such as barring driver and other team members from betting on NASCAR races.

Despite these restrictions, NASCAR has made some early maneuvers towards embracing sports betting. This includes a prototype program at the Dover International Speedway, which recently opened up an on-site betting kiosk. Dover International Speedway has now become the first and only track to allow sports gambling to take place on its property – and, for the first time, NASCAR fans could legally place bets on the races at a trackside kiosk.

What Does Legal Gambling Mean for NASCAR?

So far, things are looking up for NASCAR due to the legalization of sports betting. The opening of the Dover International Speedway kiosk was reported as a success, with a crowed of fans and gamblers lining up at the kiosk hours before the race.

NASCAR doesn’t just offer spectators the opportunity to bet on their favorite driver to win. To add a new element of excitement, NASCAR’s pilot program allows wagering on who’s going to win, who will win the first or separate segments, or one-on-one bets such as betting between drivers. And to nobody’s surprise, people loved it. Gamblers took advantage of NASCAR’s strategic gambling model and placed bets on more than just the expected winners of the overall race.

The legalization of sports wagering has the potential of retaining fleeting NASCAR fans and attracting new spectators that enjoy gambling. Sports betting will bring new comers to the track, whether they are fans or sponsors, and give them a reason to invest in the sport. But, most importantly, it offers up the opportunity for NASCAR to breathe new life into a classic American sport.

Sports Betting Allowed Nationwide, SCOTUS Rules

In a highly anticipated decision that will change the sports betting industry forever, the SCOTUS today handed down their ruling: sports betting should not only be offered and legally allowed in Nevada. While Delaware and Montana had parlays and other varied exotic sports wagering, Nevada has long been the only state where a bet could legally be place in person at a sportsbook.

The changes are sure to be widespread and will happen very quickly. New Jersey is the frontrunner to have sports betting up and running first, but other states like Pennsylvania will be in the mix as well. 

The ruling reverses the outdated PAPSA, or Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which said that other states simply missed their window of opportunity (decades ago) to offer legal sports wagering, New Jersey started their battle against this rule in 2014, and while they faced a long road, were ultimately victorious with this ruling,

The most likely outcome from here is that the federal government will allow the states to decide whether or not to allow sports betting, and if so, how it will be implemented.

Just as gambling itself is dedicated on a state level in the United States, so too will sports betting (with 99% certainty). States will then decide on many different factors. While there is no doubt that the minimum age for sports betting will remain at 21, there are many variables that will need to be considered and decided by the states.

State Sports Betting Decisions

Since the state is in control when it comes to sports betting, the first question will be a simple yes or no as to whether it is offered, States like NJ, PA and even CA will undoubtedly have sports betting in time, whether it is in weeks, months, or further away from now. There will be a number of states that now need to decide whether to offer sports betting in tandem to their traditional gambling outlets. The consensus is that, if a state offers legal gambling now, they are likely to offer sports betting in the near future as well. States with less gambling clarity will have a tougher time.

Once a state has affirmatively decided to offer sports betting, the questions then turn to the exact ways in which the betting is offered. Will players be able to wager on their mobile devices, as sports bettors can do in Nevada? Will bets only be accepted at brick and mortar casinos? As is the case with offering betting at all, this will be for the states to decide. in a state like NJ, where online poker and online casinos are already offered for online and mobile play, it would be safe to assume that mobile wagering will be offered. The same can likely be said for Pennsylvania and other more aggressive gambling states.

Licensing and Gaming Companies

For the most part, everyone is a winner with this decision, with the exception, possibly, of offshore sportsbooks. The casinos themselves will now be able to offer bets that they never could before, players can now place wagers with ease and with definitive legality, and sports leagues should expect even higher viewership ratings.

The likely path for sports betting is for the existing gaming and betting companies to add it to their selection of games. For example, a company like Penn National would add a sportsbook to their Pennsylvania casinos, and Tropicana Atlantic City would do the same.

It is unlikely that standalone sportsbooks (as can be found in other countries) are likely to be found in the United States. There could be a number of operators that work in tandem with larger sports betting operations, similar to how sportsbooks function at many Las Vegas casinos. William Hill may partner with smaller regional casinos, while Indian tribes may offer a totally different product. While the exact final outcome of what sports betting will develop into for United states sports bettors, the most likely result will be a dynamic very comparable to that of modern Las Vegas.